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Hip, Hot & Happening - The Pulitzer

The news that rocked the literary community this year is that nobody was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  Of the 300 books nominated and 3 finalists chosen, no award was given.

The prize is awarded (or not awarded) on a two tier system.  Three judges are selected to cull through the 300 nominated novels.  The judges then present 3 finalists to the Pulitzer Panel to select the winner.  This year the judges provided the three novels required but the panel decided not to award the prize. 

Check out the 3 finalists and see if you agree with the judges or the panel.  Should the award have been given?

The three finalists this year were:

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

Robert Grainer is a day laborer in the American West at the start of the twentieth century—an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainer struggles to make sense of this strange new world. As his story unfolds, we witness both his shocking personal defeats and the radical changes that transform America in his lifetime.

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, her family’s island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when illness fells Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness. As Ava sets out on a mission through the magical swamps to save them all, we are drawn into a lush and bravely imagined debut that takes us to the shimmering edge of reality.

The Pale King by the late David Foster Wallace

The agents at the IRS Regional Examination Center in Peoria, Illinois, appear ordinary enough to newly arrived trainee David Foster Wallace. But as he immerses himself in a routine so tedious and repetitive that new employees receive boredom-survival training, he learns of the extraordinary variety of personalities drawn to this strange calling. And he has arrived at a moment when forces within the IRS are plotting to eliminate even what little humanity and dignity the work still has.

The Pale King remained unfinished at the time of David Foster Wallace’s death.  It grapples directly with ultimate questions:  the meaning of life and of the value of work and society.